Illinois Expands Hate Crime Law to Include Technology

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Illinois has expanded its hate crime law to include technology. House Bill 3711 was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor on August 18, 2017.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan initiated the legislation in response to the increase of hate crimes that have take place across the country. The new law expands the reach of protection to address what happens to victims over the internet and social media. “The measure adds the existing crimes of stalking, cyberstalking, transmission of obscene messages and portions of the crime of intimidation to the list of crimes that can be prosecuted as hate crime.”

A Pew Research Center survey that came out this summer found 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online. One-in-five adults have been subjected to severe forms of harassment online, which includes sexual harassment and stalking.  The survey polled over 4,000 U.S. adults.

The new law also makes sure victims are afforded the ability to “file a civil cause of action in response to these incidents and permits a judge to impose civil penalties.”

The law takes effect on January 1, 2018.